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Five sustainable packaging trends in 2021

The words sustainability and recycling have been synonymous for well over a decade. Although over 87% of consumers worldwide would like to see significantly less packaging on products, particularly plastic packaging, sometimes it’s inevitable.

However, as 2021 advances, we see relevant and effective activities that address the consumers’ hunger for brands that show respect for the environment. As a result, there are new trends rising with a focus on sustainable packaging.

1. Returnable/reusable packaging

Reusable options, which aim to transform packaging from single-use to multi-use assets, are being implemented to counter the rise of single-use packaging. Rather than being disposed of after reaching the consumer, reusable packaging is returned and recirculated over many trips. Transitioning from single-use to reusables can help to alleviate the (environmental) burden, decreasing dependence on virgin resources by lowering material production, reducing plastic waste and pollution by eliminating waste after use.

2. Replace plastics with Paper

Paper and pulp packaging types have emerged as strong contenders to replace plastics for food and beverage packaging applications. In the industry, brands are shifting away from plastic to adopt paper- or pulp-based solutions. Therefore, these alternative packaging materials for plastics, gained significant momentum in 2020.

3. Carbon labelling

Carbon Labelling is a new trend that we will see more and more in the next few years as brands make a commitment to meeting sustainability goals. The labels provide information about the climate impact of what you consume. This makes consumers aware of the impacts of their choices.

4. Lightweight Packaging

With innovative packaging material, the concept of lightweight packing is gaining momentum. The benefits of lightweight packaging are clear: reduced material and manufacturing costs, reduced environmental impacts from transportation, and, potentially, less waste bound for landfills.

5. Bioplastics

The market for bio-based plastics made from plant-derived material continues to boom, although there are still large barriers to overcome, such as the number of industrial facilities equipped to process bioplastics. It is an exciting and growing sector in sustainable packaging.

Packaging will get smarter, more intelligent, and more active. As more and more companies commit to building a more sustainable supply chain, we’ll see innovations in packaging materials from design to construction. The good news is that we will continue to see new developments in eco-friendly packaging.


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